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Milton Hershey School Lifer Is Prepared for Her Future

Elizabeth Konneh will graduate in June with the distinction of being a Milton Hershey School lifer. MHS has had more than 600 alumni enroll in pre-K, kindergarten, or first grade. At MHS, these students earn the distinction of being a lifer once they complete their 12 years of schooling and graduate.

As we prepare to celebrate them at the school’s 90th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, June 9, we asked several of this year’s 18 lifers what their time at MHS has meant to them.

Milton Hershey School Lifer Elizabeth Konneh is prepared for her future.

What inspired you or your family to choose MHS for your education?

I grew up in the Washington, DC, area with a single mother. My mom wanted to provide me with the best education and wanted me to grow up in a safer environment than I was living in. My aunt recommended Milton Hershey School to my mom. She told her about all the benefits MHS provides and the connection to my older cousin (who later graduated in 2017).

How would you describe your journey from the moment you enrolled at MHS to your final year at MHS? 

My 12 years at MHS have been such a journey. MHS has taught me everything I needed to know and I will forever be grateful for that. I’ve had peers and staff that have always encouraged me and pushed me to reach my fullest potential. Even when times were rough, I knew I had staff members who would be there for me and show that they truly cared.

What does the school theme “Breakthrough” mean to you?

A breakthrough to me is when you finally get over a “hump.” It’s that accomplishment you have gained through tenacity and resilience—it brings a good feeling into your life.

Who has made an impact on you during your time at MHS? Describe how they have helped you.

Throughout my years at MHS, I’ve had so many staff members who have been huge role models for me. Mrs. McElwain and Ms. Mellinger, who were my English teachers, helped me believe in myself and showed me how truly smart I am. Also, Mrs. Manney and Mr. Speese, who are career counselors, were always available to chat and discuss my post-secondary plans after MHS. They have always given me good advice. Mrs. Espenshade and Mrs. Davis were always there for me, too. They supported my growth inside and outside of the classroom.

How has MHS prepared you for your future?

MHS has prepared me for my future through each Legacy and Seminar class. They taught me valuable life lessons, including financial literacy. My Graduate Programs for Success counselors also helped me through the college application process and shared advice that will stick with me after I graduate.

What are some of the most memorable, fun memories that you’ve had during your time here? What are some of the clubs/activities you’ve been able to be part of? 

I participate in cross country, track and field, National Honor Society, and Executive Student Government Association. My time participating in track and field has taught me that even though it is an individual sport your effort and output really contribute to the team overall. My favorite memory about track and field was going to Penn Relays each year, competing and having fun, and learning how to push myself. Three miles is not that easy to run! In SGA, I contributed to the Mini-THON and I’m glad I was able to be part of it. I pitched the idea to bring back Mini-THON so that we could have fun and allow everyone to donate to a good cause.

What advice would you share with a younger MHS student as they work hard and persevere toward their own Breakthrough moment? 

A piece of advice that I would give a younger MHS student is to prepare for Breakthrough moments by staying persistent and focused. Prioritizing your time and setting goals for yourself that align with your aspirations will encourage you to push through hard times. After a goal is achieved, you can reflect on the progress you’ve made and celebrate your accomplishments. It’ll all be worth it in the end!

Explore College and Career Readiness at MHS

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.